The Communiqué issued after the meeting reads that the PIC Steering Board reaffirmed its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity and fundamental structure of BiH as a single, sovereign state comprising two entities.
The PIC SB once again underlined that the entities had no right to secede from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and only exist legally by virtue of the Constitution of BiH.
Furthermore, the PIC SB reiterated its full support for the High Representative in ensuring complete respect for the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) and carrying out his mandate under Annex 10 and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which remained unchanged. It underlined that the international community retained the necessary instruments to uphold the GFAP. The PIC SB emphasized the need to fully implement the 5+2 agenda, which remained necessary for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.
The PIC SB deplored the fact that an early and divisive election campaign stalled progress on socio-economic reforms, poisoned the political atmosphere and prevented a negotiated solution on the legal gap in the Election Law related to the FBiH House of Peoples.
The Steering Board also deplored threats to the independence of the media, including intimidation and physical attacks against journalists, while also condemning attempts by certain media and politicians to distort facts, and influence the work of the Central Election Commission. “The independence of the CEC is crucial for the free and fair conduct of elections and the implementation of the results”, reads the Communiqué.
The PIC SB encouraged political and institutional leaders at the relevant levels of authority to, among other things, engage without further delay in constructive dialogue, in a spirit of compromise to enable the timely formation of functional legislative and executive authorities at all levels, and refrain from blocking or obstructing the implementation of election results; submit remaining answers to the questions from the European Commission’s Questionnaire, which would allow the European Commission to assess the readiness of Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward on its EU integration path; uphold the rule of law at all levels of governance in BiH, in particular by strengthening the institutions responsible for the fight against corruption and the prevention and combating of terrorism; refrain from undermining the state and entity level judicial institutions, and implement their decisions; and focus on delivering urgent and concrete socio-economic and other reforms to improve the quality of life for citizens, by addressing unemployment, strengthening the business environment and restructuring state-owned enterprises, and improving public services.
The Russian Federation did not join this Communique. Statement issued by the Russian Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina reads that Russia did not share such tendentious and biased assessments of the situation in BiH.
“We are convinced that the international community needs to refrain from tutoring and teaching lessons and to limit themselves to giving expert suggestions”, reads the statement issued by the Russian Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina.